PARIS -- DS Automobiles CEO Yves Bonnefont knows that it's impossible to create a premium division overnight. He knows, however, that the PSA Group subsidiary needed to shake up its European dealer network to end a prolonged sales slump and capitalize on a long-awaited product offensive.
"We have a network that is largely oversized for us," Bonnefont told Automotive News Europe. "I sold 65,000 cars in Europe, so I don't need a network designed for 1 million sales."
Currently, most DS models are sold within Citroen's showrooms because it was originally conceived as a subbrand of the long-established and much bigger French marque. The retail relationship has been less than perfect since DS became a stand-alone brand in 2014 because the sales force has been mostly trained to sell Citroens. "They are not very familiar with the DS product and the DS customers," Bonnefont said. To remedy that, he is slashing the number of DS outlets and creating separate showrooms for the brand. He hopes to have 400 DS outlets in place by the end of this year.